The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

December 3, 2012

Richland Township plans to hold line on taxes

Supervisors say health care costs help keep budget steady

JOHNSTOWN — The fact that Richland Township plans to hold the line on taxes in 2013 probably won’t come as a surprise.

The township hasn’t raised millage in 20 years.

But a key reason allowing the township supervisors to pull it off again this year is far more rare among municipalities across the state.

Richland’s costs for health care aren’t budging a bit, Supervisors Chairman Wayne Langerholc said.

“There’s no increase whatsoever,” Langerholc said of the township’s payment to Highmark, noting the supervisors wouldn’t have been surprised to see a 10 percent increase.

Township officials said this is their second year with Highmark.

The tentative 2013 plan budgets $341,000 for hospitalization.

The total budget, at $5.36 million, received tentative approval Monday.  

Supervisor Jay Marsden called the spending plan “pretty much bare bones,” noting no significant capital purchases are planned.

The township is planning renovations and security upgrades to the township building and police department offices, and some of that work likely will occur next year.

But police Chief Michael Burgan said the work probably will be handled in phases.

He said a state police-certified inspector toured the property within the past month and is preparing a report on suggested security upgrades.

The project moved to the forefront after a gunman fired shots on the police force’s property this fall.

“They spent the whole day looking over the place,” Burgan said.

He noted the service was performed at no cost to the township, “and may have saved us $10,000 or more.”

Burgan said he expects a list of recommendations by the end of the year.  

The budget is scheduled to be up for final adoption Dec. 28.

Until then, the budget will be available at the township office for public review.

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